What's mHero's Secret to Giving Health Officials Real-Time Information during a Pandemic?
When Ebola spread through Liberia in August 2014, health workers needed information—and they needed it fast. We’ve seen exactly the same need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Back in 2014, IntraHealth International and UNICEF created mHero—a two-way, mobile phone-based communication system that connects ministries of health and frontline health workers—to support health-sector communication in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak.
The original version connected Liberia's health workforce information system, iHRIS, with RapidPro, a platform that delivers basic text and audio messages. Linking the two information systems made it easier to reach most Liberian frontline health workers who were using basic mobile phones.
mHero distinguished itself from other digital health platforms by not being just another technology.
Today mHero is a vital communication tool and health worker registry platform—for COVID-19 and other urgent health needs—that countries around the world are using to:
- Communicate both routine and urgent messages to health workers
- Target messages to health workers based on cadre, location, or other demographic information
- Collect critical information about services and disease outbreaks that powers resilient health systems
- Keep health workers' skills up to date
- Provide frontline health workers with the information and support they need.
mHero’s primary function and feature is interoperability. Since it was first developed, mHero distinguished itself from other digital health platforms by not being just another technology, but rather a tool that integrates and leverages existing systems, platforms, and data.
Advancements in technology and the individual needs of our partner countries inspired IntraHealth to make mHero interoperable with even more information systems.
mHero can now operate with any health information systems compliant with the global Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) standards—the framework for sharing, integrating, and retrieving clinical health data and other electronic health information.
Now our team is exploring how to convert information collected via mHero into standard FHIR formats.This would mean information collected via mHero could be used in other health information systems, which would make it more useful for health workers and ministries of health, providing government officials with more data to inform their analysis and decision-making as they respond to COVID-19 and future health threats.